Monday, July 24, 2006

Gentlemen and Players

by Joanne Harris

I don't normally read thrillers. To be honest, I consider the genre to be rather dumb — unintellectual, formulaic, opiate-of-the-masses type of drivel. The review of this book that I read (from the Powell's review-a-day e-mail service) probably didn't call it a thriller per se, otherwise I probably wouldn't have read it.

What attracted me to Gentlemen and Players was it's setting: an ivy-encrusted, tradition-steeped English boys' school (with the implied aura of homosexual, or at least homoerotic, goings-on). While my hopes in that regard were not entirely borne out, neither were they completely dashed.

Where the book really delivers is in the characterization and, I must admit, the thrilling plot. Oh, I thought I had it all figured out, but the author skillfully drew my attention elsewhere for just long enough to surprise me with a final plot twist that, in retrospect, I should have expected — since I'm so smart, and thriller's are for dummies. Well, this here dummy got a bit of sunburn because I was too engrossed to turn over or go inside even after I'd been good and truly baked.

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